The Tibetan Book of Proportions

Public Domain Review

An eighteenth-century pattern book consisting of 36 ink drawings showing precise iconometric guidelines for depicting the Buddha and Bodhisattva figures. Written in Newari script with Tibetan numerals, the book was apparently produced in Nepal for use in Tibet.

The concept of the ‘ideal image’ of the Buddha emerged during the Golden Age of Gupta rule, from the 4th to 6th century. As well as the proportions, other aspects of the depiction – such as number of teeth, colour of eyes, direction of hairs – became very important. The V&A have produced a good guide to the iconography of the Buddha, including the 32 Lakshanas or special bodily features.

For more photos, follow the [link].

About the Public Domain Review

Founded in 2011, The Public Domain Review is an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to promoting and celebrating the public domain in all its richness and variety.

All works eventually fall out of copyright – from classics works of art to absentminded doodles – and in doing so they enter the public domain, a vast commons of material that everyone is free to enjoy, share and build upon without restriction. Our aim is to help our readers explore this rich terrain – like a small exhibition gallery at the entrance to an immense network of archives and storage rooms that lie beyond.

With a focus on the surprising, the strange, and the beautiful, we hope to provide an ever-growing cabinet of curiosities for the digital age, a kind of hyperlinked Wunderkammer – an archive of materials which truly celebrates the breadth and variety of our shared cultural commons and the minds that have made it.

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